By Michael Rampa and Skyanne Fisher
The U.S. Postals never wanted to sound like anyone else. And it’s a good thing, because they don’t. Their blend of rock, blues and punk is pure blunt force trauma. Their debut, “Priority” is gritty, raw and full of attitude. Front man Sickboy Todd does not just plug in and turn it up to 11. He lays down a rockabilly groove on lead single, Along and makes a Les Paul wail high up on the frets on the most interesting choice, a thrash metal cover of Sarah Mclachlan’s Building A Mystery. Austin Cussalli’s aggressive drumming ranges from athletic to frenetic while retaining finesse.
The band is more in tune with today’s delivery system and not hesitant about calling out the traditional methods as obsolete. Priority will have their target demo (Generations X,Y and Z) blasting an album with balls while their parents cover their ears and beg them to turn it down. It’s just what rock and roll should be. We caught up with front man Sickboy Todd and drummer Austin Cussalli.
Who are your influences?
SICKBOY TODD– Johnny Thunders (that Dylan said “is the best live performer I’ve ever seen.”) and Johnny B Goode. Dirty, gritty and real. Not the contrived routine, processed cheese the general public seems to gobble up. Food Inc. and Music Inc. should be neutralized once and for all.
AUSTIN– As the drummer for The US Postals, I am influenced by whatever comes my way out on the road. City to city and everything in between influences and teaches me what I need to be playing for the next song. We’re using New Orleans as a staging ground for operations this side of the nation, so there’s been plenty of inspiration coming from the (504) lately!
You describe your sound as “new urban blues” and “new classic rock” How do you think you bring a new sound to very traditional genres?
SICKBOY Todd- It’s just our take, on our influences. The very same way as our heroes did a version of their idols and so on…. What I won’t be doing is fully aping somebody. Look I love Robert Johnson, and I dig classic rock, but I grew up skateboarding and listening to Black Flag so…. And the “New” part is, we don’t release very many hard copies of CDs because somebody has to put a foot down! It’s an obvious, dated, wasteful practice, that the Dinosaur Major Labels push as their last gasp, because they refuse to look at the fact that Gen. X, Y, and Z are downloading and streaming everything! Meanwhile these guys just want to continue to prop up their baby boomer bands and suppress all new competition, make you really work hard to find a new artist, wear you out, so you’ll be compliant. Same with every industry in our modern farce society, and one that all of us see, but none of us will take initiative to end. We should open up some public dialog, so these dorks can finally learn how to use a computer.
AUSTIN– We are never trying to sound like anyone else, not even any traditional music, we play what we feel and how we feel. Just listen to our album , It doesn’t sound like any thing I ever hear on the street. Do you?
You state “reality” as your influence: In what way?
SICKBOY TODD– For me it’s a little perspective, a little something I picked up on growing up in Hollywood.
AUSTIN– It’s not a fantasy world for us. We’re a small business and anyone that knows, knows that it’s a lot of work, but if nobody does it, it won’t get done! Our music is our reality 24/7 and is influenced by whatever is going on in the “real world”.
You released your album only four years after forming. How did you accomplish that so quickly and what was the process like?
SICKBOY TODD– Actually we’ve nearly completed 2 Albums and have 3 videos for the 1st record during that time frame. And it just seems logical to be out pushing the first album first! -Priority.
Austin: Has it already been four years!?!?
How important a role does social media play in your career?
SICKBOY TODD– Even more important than hanging up tacky fliers on telephone poles, back in the so called “day”. Kickstarter enables fans the opportunity to truly be connected and be an integral part of their favorite artists decisions. Facebook keeps us all connected, like glue. Youtube authorizes us a free pass to entertain ourselves, and Itunes allows us the ability to offer you, our album, instantly, for $7.92. https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/priority/id669272242
AUSTIN– All forms of social media have just made our lives as musicians easier in every way as opposed to the alternative. Any improvement to push music into the unknown future is more exciting for me than holding it prisoner in the past. We’re even on Linkedin, and have a US Postals Yelp account (to try to encourage promoters to be nice to us, or else)…
Which song do you consider a lead single?
SICKBOY TODD– We released the single and video for “Along” as the lead track, then we staggered releases of the other 2 videos every 6 months or so. All on Chloroform Records, which is my financially malnourished record company. But the name speaks volumes, now doesn’t it? I hope to expand.
AUSTIN– The music was recorded at The Hit Joint in Silverlake, Phil Grishiv did all the videos, and we shot the last one “Decline and Fall” in the heart of LA’s Skidrow. And once and for all, my desert shots in our “Building a Mystery” video were shot in luxurious Palmdale, Ca. Not Joshua Tree!
How did you come up with the name?
SICKBOY TODD- By jacking shipping titles from the usps site, we have unearthed a ton of album titles for future release! But there’s also something else at play in the name The US Postals, one that may insinuate retribution. Or does it allege unity in the word “us”? Band Loyalty, Cali Love, or it could represent our fans as being One Crew? I love semantics.
AUSTIN– All musicians will agree with me, that if we are not out playing our music, doing our craft, it makes us feel a certain way deep inside… and it’s not good. “Along” is about that kinda’ bummer actually.
What is next for The US Postals?
SICKBOY TODD- Open for International Deliveries -Priority!
AUSTIN- Hollywood Rock Dealers always Deal.